The History Wars Continue, Part VI

Today we move on to the economy and the role of government. Sparks are sure to fly. 6. “A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems created by capitalism and failing to include coverage of government’s role in U.S. economic system.” (a) Here, according to the Texas Freedom Network, are the … Continue reading The History Wars Continue, Part VI

The History Wars Continue, Part V

5. “Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than Christianity.” Here, the Network is on firmer ground. Geographers and historians aren’t specialists in religion or philosophy, and they often oversimplify or make mistakes. Consider some particular complaints: (a) In describing Buddhism’s second Noble Truth, one text says, “Selfishness is the cause of suffering,” … Continue reading The History Wars Continue, Part V

The History Wars Continue, Part II

Yesterday I talked about the Texas Freedom Network’s report on textbooks submitted to satisfy the new Texas Social Studies standards, looking at one set of complaints. Today I’ll continue by evaluating additional issues raised by the report, again as reasonable, debatable, or bogus. 2. “Two government textbooks include misleading information that undermines the Constitutional concept of the separation of church and state.” The first of these … Continue reading The History Wars Continue, Part II

The History Wars Continue, Part I

The Texas Freedom Network, a left-wing group as committed to Freedom as the former German Democratic Republic was committed to democracy, has issued a report blasting the textbooks that publishers have submitted to the Texas State Board of Education to go along with the new state guidelines, passed in 2010 after considerable controversy, which I wrote about here. Some of the complaints are justifiable, though … Continue reading The History Wars Continue, Part I

I Seem to Remember that I Had a Life

The last eight months of my life have been dominated by creating and running a massively open online course (MOOC) on twentieth-century intellectual history. The course has ended, and I seem to remember that I had a life before all this started. I hope I can get back to it. The course, one of the first humanities MOOCs, attracted 35,000 students, of whom about 8,000 … Continue reading I Seem to Remember that I Had a Life

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Texas

The National Association of Scholars recently completed a study of history courses offered at The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. It’s absolutely on target: Our findings in this study shed light on a source of Americans’ increasing ignorance about their own history. At the two institutions we studied, the focus on race, class, and gender often tended to crowd out the … Continue reading Scenes from the Class Struggle in Texas

Alternative Education

Glenn Reynolds writes about the growing popularity of alternatives to traditional public education. He makes an important sociological observation: This Industrial Era approach (public schools were organized in the 19th century on a Prussian model, explicitly to produce obedient, orderly workers) had advantages. But it also had disadvantages. Like interchangeable parts in an industrial machine, students were treated alike, regardless of their individual characteristics and … Continue reading Alternative Education

The Higher Education Bubble

Glenn Reynolds talks to Naomi Schafer Riley about the state of higher education. It’s a fascinating discussion, free of the overgeneralizations that plague discussions of this issue. Ron Lipsman, for example, claims that college education is now little more than indoctrination, except in certain areas of the hard sciences. That’s not so. Certain fields and courses are mostly indoctrination—almost anything with “Studies” in the title, … Continue reading The Higher Education Bubble

Gender Balances in Universities

Robert Weissberg talks about the war against men on college campuses. Meanwhile Gail Heriot and Alison Somin write about discrimination against women in college admissions. Women already out number men 4-3 on college campuses; soon it will be 3-2. The statistics would be even more marked if one didn’t count the men we import to fill slots in engineering and the sciences. There are many … Continue reading Gender Balances in Universities

A Right to a College Education?

President Obama has announced that “every American will have to get more than a high school diploma.” He calls for the United States once again to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world—60%. Michelle Singletary calls a college education a “right”—by which she means that you and I have to pay not only for our own children’s education but for the education … Continue reading A Right to a College Education?